Monday, November 30, 2009

M/M Meme: Tag – I’m it

I have been tagged by Leontine to do this M/M Meme! It’s my very first so I hope I don’t screw this up ;)

1. Answer all the questions below in either the comments here or post it on your own site. If you post it on your own site you have to come back and give the link here so I can mosey on over and see if you have a sticky beak.
2. You have to tag two other people once you’re done and pester them relentlessly until they do the meme too.
3. Instead of a meme image thing you have to post a cookie, preferably a twofer. It is an m/m meme after all.

1. How long have you been reading GLBTQ fiction? Since 4 months, but so far I’ve only covered the G(ay) and B(isexual) part, not yet the L(esbian), T(ransexual) and Q(ueer) part. And to be honest, they don’t appeal to me either. M/M romances do!

2. What was the first book you read in this genre? I think it was Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson, a rather sweet story about two (straight) friends falling in love.

3. Are you ‘out’ as a reader? Uhm, not really. In RL only my hubby knows about my smutty books, but even to him I’m not yet out as a M/M reader. Online I’m out as both…

4. Ebooks, print or both? 99% ebooks and an occasional one in print. And the rare paperback I buy is new too… I don’t want to wonder about certain stains on the pages…

5. Do you buy direct from publishers or from secondary sellers? Both.

6. Prove you’re a Book Slut. How many books would you say you buy a week? You really need proof I’m a Book Slut… ask my hubby or take a look at my credit card statements (that I tend to hide from him now and then). Oh, you need numbers? Uhm, last weekend I bought 19 books at once (and this is not a one time thing with me *blush*) In my post from November 28 I’ve listed all the books…

7. Are you a cover, blurb or excerpt buyer? Definitely a cover hussy. That’s the first thing that draws me in and next I read an excerpt if there is one.

8. Yeah, you read reviews, but do you actually take notice of them? For sure! All the great blogging reviewers out there make my TBB list longer and longer!

9. Who’s your fave publisher? Ellora’s Cave, Samhain and LooseID are the most frequent names on my credit card statements.

10. What about authors? Your top two only!! I haven’t read many of the well known M/M authors but one of my favs is absolutely Shayla Kersten, another one is Samantha Kane (although she writes M/M/F romances).

11. Is there a sub-genre you particularly dis/like? No dislikes, nope. Likes yeah, the friends become lovers theme or the straight become gay theme (or a combo of those two).

12. Short or long?? *rolls eyes* And, no, I’m not talking about cocks. Oh, in that case short… or long… doesn’t really matter, as long as the story is well developed.

13. Anything turn you off about m/m or is all just glorious smut to you? I’m quite a virgin when it comes to the smut. I recently learned that there’s a lot more to discover (check out Kris’ Firsts series at her blog) about fisting, twincests, piercings… I’m game though!

14. Finish this sentence. You know it’s m/m twu wuv when… *murmers, there’s that damn blog lingo again* I guess, when two hot guys can’t keep their hands and mouths from each other, and suffer from a little heartache when they are not together.


15. What trope or theme are you heartily sick of in m/m romance? None so far, still loving it all!

16. If you could choose any 3 characters for an m/m/m who would they be? Kade McKay (Rough Riders series – the sweetest and sexiest cowboy evah) Noah (Deviations series – hot and sweetly submissive cop) and Dean Winchester (Supernatural - funniest and sexiest hunter) Oh wait… a character from a romance, not a tv show? Well than the third hottie should be Rich Taylor (A Helping Hand – hot and adorable deputy sheriff) *sigh, what a dream team, can I join?*

17. What new GLBTQ release are you most hanging out for right now? *frantically browsing the ‘coming soon’ site pages* O Yeah, I actually was waiting for the release of Never Say Never by Jenna Byrnes (Book two in the Rose and Thorn Society Series) and … yay... it got released today!

18. What GLBTQ book has completely blown you away this year? That must have been A Helping Hand by Shayla Kersten, a great romance!

19. What do you think we’ll see more of in m/m romance in 2010? I’m not sure, but I’m afraid of the weresnakes (yep… the rattling kind) that seem to sneaking their way into romances. Let’s hope they skip the M/M romances!

20. Don’t you agree that author Josh Lanyon should kill off arsehole character Jake Riordan? *murmer* This must be a trick question… Okay, I admit it… I’ve never read a Josh Lanyon story, yet. And I’m pretty sure Jake Riordan is not in the three books I bought from this author last weekend… But let me get back on that…

Pffw, those were 20 hard questions! I hope I didn’t completely make a clean breast of it. I’m actually still on my honeymoon when it comes to losing my M/M virginity, as you all know now!

Now, I have the honor to tag two people. Although it’s hard to tell if they already have been tagged before with this meme, I pick:

Mandi from Smexybooks and
Ms Moonlight from Moonlight to Twilight Blog.

Good luck, girls!

Monday's Hot Couple

I'm reading Ava Grey's Skin Game (I'm at page 116 of 320) and it's really enjoyable so far. The H/h aren't the most likely characters (a con woman and an assassin) and on top of that the heroine has a supernatural gift. But I'm totally buying it... I think that's due to Ava Grey's writing skills. She sure knows how to tell her story!

Meanwhile I'm doing my homework on this M/M meme that I hope to post later today...

Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Review of Double Play by Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis
Double Play
Berkley Sensation, 2009

Genre & Keywords
: Contemporary, Sports: Baseball

Rating: êêêê
Heat level:

I’ve read a few Blazes by Jill Shalvis before. Just Try Me, Shadow Hawk and Room Service are really lovely and steamy reads. That’s why I wanted to give one of her other romances a try. What attracted me in Double Play was the setting of this sports world, baseball to be exact. And of course the yummie cover! I mean, look at it...
And the story didn’t disappoint me, Double Play was a fun, sexy read.

So, reading Double Play was enjoying. There were a lot of things to like but also a few things that had me raise my eyebrows. So, I like to share my High 5, Low 5 with you. The High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head in wonder or annoyance.

First the Back Blurb:
Getting to first base is a cinch...But getting home will take a grand slam...

Pace Martin is the ace pitcher for the Pacific Heat. He's got the arm, the experience, and the wins. He's also got the pain, the pressure, and the possible end of his career looming over him. The last thing he needs now is a distraction, even if it comes in the form of a tough, beautiful, tell-it-like-it-is writer who sees past his defenses.

Holly Hutchins knows a good story when she sees one, and the tall, dark, and slightly attitude-challenged Pace Martin fits the bill. But when she realizes there's more at stake than just a win, she starts to see the handsome, broad-shouldered jock in a different light.

Pace and Holly begin a seductive game, but in the face of unexpected betrayal and challenges, they'll have to find the courage to swing for the fences...

High 5

• Funny, witty writing
Jill Shalvis’ witty way of telling her story makes this book alluring from the first page. Her writing is funny and light until the last page and that makes this a very enjoyable and easy read. Here’re the first few paragraphs so you can see for yourself (and it gets better further down the book):

“If Pace Martin had the choice between sex and a nap, he’d actually take the nap, and wasn’t that just pathetic enough to depress him. But his shoulder hurt like a mother and so did his damn pride.
Go home and rest, Pace.
That had been his physical therapist’s advice, but Pace could rest when he was old and far closer to dead than thirtyone. In the locker room, he bent down to untie his cleats and nearly whimpered like a baby.” (p. 1)

• Entertaining dialogues
The same goes for the dialogues, which are a pleasure to read. Not only because they are quick and funny but vibrant as well. This made the interaction between the H/h very appealing.

• Non-typical adonis hero
Pace is a hot alpha-athlete, at least he looks like one with all the delectable muscles in the right places. But he isn’t acting like one; although he is the star of the team, he doesn’t like to be the one in the spotlights. I think this is an attractive combination. Clearly that’s what Holly thinks too. He actually isn’t all that charming or easy-going at the beginning. But when his gruff and surly ways transform into one of his sexy smiles, he is all the more attractive. Combined with his edible bod he becomes hot as sin in an instant. Holly is a perfect match for him, by the way. I liked her as well, because she’s sassy, spunky, open and honest. And once Pace gets to know her, he starts to notice her beautiful hair and eyes as well.

• Well developed storyline about trust
The issues with trust that Pace and Holly have are made convincible by their background stories. Ms. Shalvis shows cleverly the gradual alteration in her protags, concerning this topic. It’s not hard to understand Pace’s distrust because of Holly’s profession and history of revealing secrets at her blog. But her direct way with her feelings makes him eventually see that he can trust her. Although there are a few bumps in the road to overcome, of course. These trust issues was what the story thrived on mainly. Fortunately, the author worked out this theme pretty good, but it edged on becoming repetitive and boring.

• Rich surroundings with real people
Very persuasive was the integral world, complete with a network of friends and colleagues, that the author created around the protags. Pace and Holly’s network is big and full with real people. Of course not all of them are three-dimensional characters but they do make a great supporting cast. I like that in my romances!

Low 5

• Overwhelming detail
Although it was pretty interesting, the amount of detail of the behind the scenes life of a baseball pro sometimes got in the way of the love story. The dealing with injuries, superstitions and crazy fans was all very entertaining, but I sometimes couldn’t help thinking “Hurry up, let’s get to the important stuff here”.

• Not steamy enough
And with the first low comes the second one: for my taste there was not enough of the goodies in this book! The quantity of the making out was okay I guess, but the hot sex did just occur a couple of times. Not that the sex scenes weren’t hot or steamy but we had to wait way past the middle of the book before ‘the deed’ actually happened. The sexual tension until then was pretty fabulous though, with them flirting and kissing. And I must admit that maybe the vigor of this story is that it’s not about the ‘act’ between the H/h but the love story they are involved in.

• Lot of time skipping and elapsing
I don’t mind some time elapses in a romance at all, because they are necessary to make it credible that the H/h are learning to know each other better. But in Double Play there are a lot of them. Imo too many, because I felt that some of them happened at a moment that things started to get interesting. In those moments I wished the author would have explored and described some more of what was going on between Pace and Holly. But no, the scene ended and instead of picking up where they left in the next chapter (for example from a different POV), another day/week started. Frustrating!

• Incredible interference of coach
I didn’t buy it that a coach of a pro baseball team would go to the extent that Pace’s coach went to forestall one of his players to jinx the game. The superstition theme was a bit incredible in a whole but the part where everybody believes it will bring bad luck when Pace and Holly sleep together was outrageous! And the worst thing was that Pace gave in to this nonsense. Really?

• Baseball quotes
I kept wondering what was up with the baseball quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I probably didn’t get it because I’m not an American and don’t know much about baseball. It looks like something you might find in a literary novel but not in a romance though.

So, this were my five highs and lows. I did like Double Play pretty much. It had funny dialogues, witty writing, loveable protags and great sexual tension. It’s a sexy and sweet sports romance and I’m looking forward to the next book Slow Heat that will tell Wade’s story, Pace’s friend and team mate. It will be released in February 2010.

Short Review of Songbird by Maya Banks

Maya Banks
Samhain Publishing, September 2009

Genre & Keywords
: Contemporary, Ménage, Cowboys, Violence, Grief

Rating: êêê
Heat level:

The Back Blurb:
The voice of an angel, a husband who loved her. She had it all…until a tragedy took it away. A Linger story.
They called her their Songbird, but she was never theirs. Not in the way she wanted.
The Donovan brothers meant everything to Emily, but rejected by Greer and Taggert, she turned to Sean, the youngest. He married her for love, and she loved him, but she also loved his older brothers.
Her singing launched her to stardom. She had it all. The voice of an angel, a husband who loved her, and the adoration of millions. Until a tragedy took it all away.
Taggert and Greer grieve for their younger brother, but they’re also grieving the loss of Emmy, their songbird. They take her back to Montana, determined to help her heal and show her once and for all they want her. They’re also on a mission to help her find her voice again. Under the protective shield of their love, she begins to blossom… until an old threat resurfaces.
Now the Donovans face a fight for what they once threw away. Only by winning it—and her love—will their songbird fly again.

Warning: Explicit sex, ménage a trois, multiple partners, a committed polyamorous relationship, adult language, and sweet loving.

I’ve read a few books by Maya Banks before and I liked them most of the times. The first ménage romance I read was her Colters’ Woman, I think. That was a hot read that I enjoyed quite a bit. Songbird is another one of her ménage stories. Again it involves some hot ranching brothers. Originally there were three siblings, like in Colters’ Woman, but in this story one of them died an early and violent death. He was the one who was married to the heroine, Emmy. She loves all three of the brothers but the older two rejected her a few years back. Now with their younger brother dead, those brothers came to take Emmy back home and help her get over her grief. So far, the ingredients are promising. And the first third of the story was promising too. The characters were introduced, their feelings explained and their relationship was gradually developing into something beautiful. Emmy’s grief was heart-wrenching and the brothers were adorable in their behavior and insecurities.

However, the first thing that bugged me a little bit and took my out of the story was a description of Greer’s appearance. If it was done somewhere at the start of the story, it would’ve been okay, but now it came at a moment that I’d already made my own mental picture of the guys. Suddenly he’s described as bulky and the shorter one of the brothers and that so didn’t match my image of the guy!

Well, this is just a minor thing, but a bigger problem for me was the sudden appearance of a kidnapper (can’t say much about that without spoiling it). Let’s just say, that turn in the plot came out of the blue for me. Maybe I’m not enough of a perceptive reader and should have seen it coming. But I didn’t and to be honest I don’t think the story needed this kind of suspense. I reckoned it all a bit too unbelievable! Besides, it reminded me very much of what happened at the end of Colters’ Woman… In my opinion it smelled of sensationalism, just added to jerk some more tears. And truthfully, the story didn’t need that plot turn to be a tearjerker. Like I said, Emmy’s grief was heart-wrenching enough. That part was imo written beautifully.

Another thing I liked was how the brothers were insecure about how to make this polyamorous relationship work, unlike the heroes of Colters’ Woman, who were all resolute about sharing one woman for the rest of their lives. Nope, not Taggert and Greer! Initially they turned Emmy down and even now they’d come to terms with it, they don’t really know how to act. That made them loveable for me. Of course things in the bedroom go smoothly from the first moment, but that’s how things (should?) go in romances! Right?

To conclude, reading Songbird wasn’t a waste of time, it has it’s good moments but it’s not one of my favorite ménage romances.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Confessions of a Wild Shopping Bookaholic

Okay, I went a little nuts with the Black Friday sales at Fictionwise!! I just couldn't control myself, because a lot of multiformat ebooks came with 40-50 % discount. Among them a few series I read the first installment of or that I wanted to give a try anyway. So I just kept clicking the 'add to my cart' button... *shameful look*. But I got nearly 20 books for a little more than $ 60, isn't that a great deal?

So, here's what I got:

Gobsmacked [Men of Smithfield] by L.B. Gregg

No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Mild mannered Mark Meehan’s good judgment flies out the window when he finds his lover banging another man. Things go from bad to worse as Mark’s crazy revenge scheme uncovers shocking secrets—sending him straight into the arms of hunky lawman and old friend, Tony Gervase, a man of limited patience and secrets of his own.

Happy Ending [Men of Smithfield] by L.B. Gregg

All Seth really wanted was a simple massage—was that too much to ask? When his usual therapist is replaced by a sexy young masseur, Seth finds himself obsessed with the unpredictable - and wholly inappropriate - David Cooke. Pushed to the breaking point by forces both mysterious and not so mysterious, Seth must lose his rigid control to find the happy ending both he and David deserve.

Cover Me [Men of Smithfield] by L.B. Gregg

Lax. That was the initial conclusion enigmatic security specialist Max Douglas had drawn of Michael “Finn” Finnegan—Dalton Prep’s beloved English teacher. When Max arrives at Smithfield’s exclusive boarding school to protect a high profile student against a mysterious stalker, he’s hell bent on enforcing his style of leadership on students and teachers alike. Warring tempers turn to passionate lovemaking between the former marine and the easy going drama coach. But danger is closer than either man expects and all too quickly violence rocks the homey campus—putting both men at risk.

Sting of Desire by Lilli Feisty

Sandine would love to walk out of her ex-boyfriend’s life forever. Except the sadistic bastard stole the ancient tarot cards her late mother gave her, knowing she’ll do anything to get them back. Including endure his abuse on the stage of his sex club. For the crime of trying to get her prized cards back, she’s steeling herself for the public beating of her life.
Harry Marshall should be immune to undercover work at sex clubs by now. From the moment he spots Sandine chained at the mercy of the suspected drug dealer he’s after, his gut tells him something isn’t right. He can’t believe he’d risk blowing his cover by stepping in.

Dangerous Ground by Josh Lanyon

Special Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will. And when Taylor was shot a few hours later, Will felt his reluctance to get involved was vindicated. For Will, the team and the friendship have to come first -- despite the fact that he hasn't failed to notice just Taylor is.
Taylor has been in love with his partner and best friend since they were first partnered. There isn't much he wouldn't do for Will -- but he doesn't know how much longer they can stay teamed feeling the way he does. Still, he agreed to a camping trip in the High Sierras -- despite the fact that he hates camping -- because Will wanted a chance to save their partnership. But the trip is a disaster from the first, and things rapidly go from bad to worse when they find a crashed plane and a couple of million dollars in stolen money.

I Spy Something Bloody by Josh Lanyon

"Stephen, I'm in trouble…"
The voice on the phone was the last voice Dr. Stephen Thorpe expected to hear. But ex-lover Mark Hardwicke is injured and in trouble -- and Stephen has always had a hard time saying no to this particular brand of trouble.
His cover blown, his enemies closing in, British spy Mark is seeking sanctuary with the man he never stopped loving. But there's a new man in Stephen's life, and Stephen's not interested in hearing Mark's explanations or excuses -- let alone playing doctor with him.

Don't Look Back by Josh Lanyon

Peter Killian, curator at Constantine House in Los Angeles, wakes in the hospital to find himself accused of stealing a tenth century Chinese sculpture. Peter knows he’s not a thief -- but that’s all he knows. Why is hot and handsome Detective Mike Griffin so sure he’s guilty -- and so hell-bent on seeing Peter arrested? And why is Peter having these weird dreams about an unseen lover who somehow reminds him uncomfortably of Michael Griffin?

Bareback by Chris Owen

Jake Taggart's life was almost perfect. He'd worked hard to overcome his past, and he loved his job as foreman on a ranch in Arkansas. The only thorn in his side was a dark eyed cowboy named Tornado whose stubborn attitude brought frustration and confusion to Jake's mostly happy existence. A late spring rainstorm brings out hidden passions and unleashes a chain of events neither of them expected--and eventually brings about events that threaten to destroy them and what they worked to create.

9-1-1 by Chris Owen

Drew is a fireman who loves the rush of his job, and is looking for a roommate to share costs. Scott is a doctor looking for somewhere to live that doesn't leave him rooming with his now ex-lover. The match seems more than perfect when Scott moves in with Drew. It's more than just costs that they share. They find it hard to resist getting to know each other in the most intimate way, and soon things are heating up enough to make even Drew wonder if they can handle the fire. So what happens when along comes EMT Eric with his blond good looks and boyish smile? He seems like the perfect match for Drew and Scott, but just Eric moving in is not all they have to deal with. Between family strife and physical injuries, the three of them have to face problems that could tear them apart, and ruin more than just their life together, including their careers and their health.

Deviations: Domination by Chris Owen & Jodi Payne

In this sequel to Deviations: Submission, Dom Tobias and Sub Noah are back, learning more about each other and their relationship, testing the boundaries of what they can and cannot handle, both together and apart. Tobias works at becoming more comfortable and finding his balance as a full-time Master again. Meanwhile, his work brings out the true submissive in Noah, who faces some of his greatest fears, and his greatest secrets, confessing about a terrible time in his past. He's not the only one who has a rough time. Tobias breaks down and shows Noah he's not all dominance, too, which sends shockwaves through their romance, leaving them to wonder if they can keep it together.

Deviations: Discipline by Chris Owen & Jodi Payne

Tobias and Noah explore their relationships more deeply than they ever have, not just with their own dominance and submission, but with their friends. As Noah helps Tobias through the loss of someone dear, he finds Tobias helping him, too, leading him through some intense sexual games, breaking down the last of Noah's fears, and helping him face his biggest one. The cage. Meanwhile, Tobias' ex-lover, Phantom, becomes close friends with Noah as they discover and try to resist the simmering sexual tension between them. Their teasing turns to real support when Phantom reaches the breaking point thanks to the lack of a master in his life, something he desperately needs. While Bradford works to become that master, Tobias and Noah go to Paris, where they see the sights, go to sex clubs, and re-negotiate their contract.

Deviations: Bondage by Chris Owen & Jodi Payne

Noah and Tobias come back from Paris with a renewed contract and a deeper personal bond. Too bad things don't go as smoothly at home. When they get back, they face a crisis that might just threaten their contract, and their personal intimacy. The crisis has a ripple effect, but Tobias and Noah finally learn that they can evolve with it, instead of collapsing. They experiment with scene after scene, making them longer, deeper, which allows them to explore more than they've ever dared. They even explore moving in together. When Noah is forced to face the danger of his job, he starts to question why he became a cop. Tobias is also questioning his job. Soon enough, their external life is changing enough that they're forced to lean on each other to sustain them. Can they achieve a comfortable balance between their outside life, their scenes, and their love?

Bend Over Big Boy by Kit Zheng & Chris Owen & Mychael Black

Ever wonder what happens when the tables are turned on a rough, tough top, and he ends up on the bottom? Who doesn't? Bend Over, Big Boy has plenty of butch subs and tough guys in trouble, whether they beg for it or have to be coerced into taking it like a man. The smoking hot stories in Bend Over, Big Boy range from rough and raw to wicked and playful, all the while giving a nod and a wink to setting convention on its ear.
Veteran authors like Chris Owen and Syd McGinley know how to bring on the heat, while new authors such as Eider Gray and CA James play on the themes of pride and delight.

Polar Reaction by Claire Thompson

The savage Antarctic winter is closing in, and three research scientists are scheduled for the last flight out—until an unexpected blizzard traps all three of them in the compound. There’s Tuck, who only joined the project to be close to sexy-but-straight Brendan, the man of his dreams. And Jamie, who has always admired the other two from afar. Thrown into a dangerous situation, the three of them turn to each other for survival, solace…and more. As Brendan overcomes his confusion over his impulses, the trio begin a sexual exploration that explodes into passion and unbridled lust. Yet once the rescue helicopter airlifts them to safety, Brendan comes to his senses, returning home to his carefully constructed, closeted life.

Riptide Love [The Thorns, Book 2] by Melissa Lopez

Rescue swimmer Ethan Thorn is used to pulling people from the swirl of the ocean, but he never expected to pull a woman straight out of his past. Denae Button was the first woman who meant more to him than great sex, until he realized she was his brother’s fiancée. Now the one woman he hoped never to see again is back—with the three-year-old son he never knew he had. A resurging riptide of love drags Ethan and Denae back into each other’s arms. But exposing the secrets that nearly destroyed the Thorn family could tear them apart for good.

True Blue Love [The Thorns, Book 3] by Melissa Lopez

Something’s flying on Miller Thorn’s trip home to the Australian bush—and it’s not just the plane. The attractive American woman sitting next to him is striking sparks hotter than an Outback wildfire. Miller’s never claimed to be good at relationships—witness the straining ties that bind his own family—but this woman is just his type. The type that flat-out asks for a one-night stand. No strings, no names. Kaycee Hollenbeck’s ready to start a new life as a free woman, and what better launching pad than a gorgeous Australian’s bed? Anonymity suits her just fine, but a girl’s gotta know whose name to scream.

When Good Things Happen to Bad Boys by Lori Foster & Erin McCarthy & Helenkay Dimon

"Playing Doctor" is written by Lori Foster. Attitude makes a huge difference in bed. It could be Axel Dean's motto. The sexy physician likes his women with sensual moxie, and Libby Preston definitely seems to fit that bill. There's that naughty grin. That hot bod. Her eager kisses and cheeky insults. Her...admitted virginity. Whoa. Okay, cue cold shower. Axel may not be an honorable man, but he has his limits. Except Libby won't take no for an answer.
"Lady Of The Lake" is written by Erin McCarthy. Pro baseball player Dylan Diaz is pretty sure he's going to hell. When you rescue a drowning woman from a lake your first thought should be, "Are you okay?" not, "Can I make mad, passionate love to you?" But the minute sputtering kindergarten teacher Violet Caruthers is on Dylan's boat, that's all he can think about.
"Hardhats And Silk Stockings" is written by HelenKay Dimon. Hannah Bridges is the most infuriating woman architect Whit Thomas has ever met - and the sexiest. If he could just get the tough contractor to stop proving herself at very turn, they might have time to discuss more important things, like his hands on prints. What Hannah needs is a night of pure bliss that's all about her: no regrets, no control, no limits.

Tie 'Em Up, Hold 'Em Down by Carolina Valdez

They knew it was dangerous to be gay in the all-male, macho world of firefighting, but when Dane Garrison and Robert "Bear" Barrington are stranded in a shack and forced to sleep together to keep warm, the barriers to expressing their love and satisfying their hidden lust for each other break down. Terrified for them both of being outed, Bear shuts Dane out of his life after their brief time together, as if their passion had never existed. Dane, however, wants this man in his life forever. More aggressive and secure, he fights against Bear’s resistance to their relationship.

Men On Fire by Rachelle Chase, Susan Lyons and Jody Lynn Copeland

Brave, bold, and dangerously sexy, firefighters are every woman's fantasy. Meet three hot heroes who take scorching desire to a whole new level...Executive Jade Rousseau needs to find a fake fiancé to parade around her company's social events. When her friends bid on red-hot firefighter Quinn O'Malley at a benefit auction, Jade bids higher. The man has to be hers - and she can't wait to feel the passion...When fashion designer Delta Ballantyne asks firefighter Evan Marshall to model her sexy line of men's underwear, she can't stop the sizzling fantasies running through her mind, beginning with sophisticated foreplay...and ending with the ultimate climax...Ever since Erica Donelson's ex-husband left her, his former best buddy, firefighter Lincoln Gabriel, has been there for her. But before long, their warm friendship heats up to a burning lust that won't be denied...

Maybe you'll detect a few themes here?
It's so funny how this works, once I start buying I tend to end up with a lot of books with simular themes. Sometimes it's for example M/M or cop heroes, other times it's comboys or friends become lovers. This time there're a lot of M/M reads, others have the D/s theme and in some are the men in uniform proudly present...

Did you go gaga on Black Friday sales?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Gay Friday & two stories by Evangeline Anderson


I finished two short M/M stories this week: I'll Be Hot for Christmas and Fireworks by Evangeline Anderson, both featuring Nick Valenti and Sean O'Brian, heroes from The Assignment, that I reviewed yesterday. The short stories are a nice addition to the novel, especially since we finally get Sean’s point of view in I'll Be Hot for Christmas. In Fireworks we’re back at Nick’s POV.
The first story takes place one year after The Assignment and the second one and a half. And in both we step into their lives at a moment they’re dealing with some issues, which they solve with hot sex. What’s not to enjoy, right? But the first story suffered imo a bit too much from repetition of the mentioning of their past. A variation of the phrase ‘when they had taken their partnership and friendship to the next level and became lovers’ is used quite often. Therefore I rate that one with 3 stars and Fireworks with 3.5 out of 5.

The Back Blurbs:

I'll Be Hot for Christmas
It's a year after their assignment at the RamJack where they first confessed their feelings for each other. Valenti and O'Brian have been sharing an exclusive and white-hot relationship when Valenti suddenly pulls away. Understandably upset, O'Brian is determined to find out why his partner/lover is giving him the cold shoulder on Christmas, even if it means handcuffing Valenti to the bed to get the truth out of him!

In The Assignment, cops Nick Valenti and Sean O’Brian posed lovers to bust a notorious drug lord and discovered their undercover assignment was actually their truth. In I’ll Be Hot for Christmas, O’Brian taught his partner one hell of a sexy lesson. Now, they have a lot to celebrate on the Fourth of July. But Valenti has some less than traditional ideas about how to celebrate. Who needs sparklers and bottle rockets when you’ve got handcuffs and black leather?

Erotica Romance Reading Challenge 2010

Erotic Horizon is hosting The Erotica Romance Reading Challenge 2010. Well, I've never participated in a challenge before, so all the technical stuff with mr Linky is new to me. But the reading part of this challenge is right up my alley. So I'm gonna give this one a try. The rules are easy:
You have to read TEN (10) Erotica Romance in 2010 (Timeline: 01 Jan 2010 - 31 Dec 2010).

• You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront then you can change them, nothing is set in stone!
• The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
• You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.
• You must be 18 years or older to join.

If you want to participate in this challenge please go to Erotic Horizon's blog and read more about how to join.

My list:

1. Cuffed and Dangerous by Bronwyn Green, Finished, 4 stars
2. Beth's Acceptance by Teal Ceagh, Finished, 4 stars
3. This Side of Heaven by Fallon Blake, Finished, 4.5 stars
4. More by Sloan Parker, Finished, 5 stars
5. Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf, Finished, 3.75 stars
6. Captured by Julia Rachel Barrett, Finished, 4 stars
7. Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone, Finished, 5 stars
8. Pack of Lies by Vanessa Vaughn, Finished, 4 stars
9. Eternal Seduction by Jennifer Turner, Finished, 4.5 stars
10. Size Matters by Stephanie Julian, Finished, 4.5 stars


10 / 10 books. 100% done!

Check the rest of the list on my Erotica Challenge shelf in my GoodReads library.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Review of The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson

Evangeline Anderson
The Assignment
Loose Id, February 2006

Genre & Keywords
: Gay, M/M, Best Friends Become Lovers, Straight Guy Turns Gay, Cops
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3 flames

My first acquaintance with the books of Evangeline Anderson was Str8te Boys. I’m pretty sure that it was at the same time my first M/M story ever. And it got me completely hooked at the genre! It was such a sweet story about two straight roommates who start feeling attracted to one another. In fact, The Assignment reminded me of that story in more than one way. Both are featuring best friends falling in love and straight guy(s) turning gay. And both are written from just one point of view, which keeps you guessing about the other guy’s feelings. And let’s not forget, both contain scorching hot M/M sex scenes!
The difference is that the protags of The Assignment are working together on an undercover assignment and that they can’t screw up their cover, so the suspense level is higher than that of Str8te Boys. The publisher even labeled the novel as ‘Romantic Suspense’ (and GLBT). Maybe that’s a bit too strong a label, although I found myself being unable to put the book down. I wanted to keep reading and reading, but that was more due to them making out and falling in love with each other than to the investigation or the threats of danger that were supposed to hang over their heads.

Overall, I loved The Assignment but there were a few things I had questions about. So, I like to share my High 5, Low 5 with you. The High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head in wonder or annoyance.

First the Back Blurb:
Detective Nicholas Valenti, tall, dark and stoic, has been best friends with his partner, Sean O'Brian for six years. The two men have seen each other through divorce, disaster, and danger, and saved each other's asses more times than Valenti can count. Exactly when he started seeing his blond, intense partner in another light, Valenti isn't really sure. He only knows that he wants O'Brian in a way that had nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with possession. It is a desire he will have to hide forever because O'Brian is undeniably straight.
Just as Valenti is coming to grips with his new, unacceptable feelings for his partner their police captain puts them on a new case that could blow Valenti's cover once and for all. He and O'Brian are going undercover at the country's largest and most infamous gay resort to bust a notorious drug lord and stop the shipments of poison cocaine that are flooding the gay bars all over the city.
Now Valenti will have to make a choice between friendship and desire. He and O'Brian will play the roles of gay men that will push the limits of their relationship to the breaking point. Will their time at the RamJack forge a new bond between them or destroy their partnership forever?

High 5

• Favorite subject, effectively done
I’m a sucker for the Friends Become Lovers subject. Can’t help liking that type of romances, but when it’s done well, these are the best. It’s because friends already know each other well and apparently like the other person for who he (or she) is. And it’s not only about physical attraction in these stories, but there’s a broader base. Now, Ms Anderson has a way of making this subject work for me. The doubts and insecurities that come with the feelings of love and attraction are made insightful and perceptible. At least those of Nick, since the story is told from his POV. There are a few flashbacks in which their history as friends becomes clear, their special bond and how things started changing and became more than just friendship. Nick’s reluctance to take the next step with Sean, time after time, is understandable because of the way he feels about their friendship and losing that. It was very easy to empathize with him thanks to the insight Ms. Anderson gave into his emotions.

• Lively dialogue
The way Sean and Nick interact with each other is lifelike. A big part of what made me enjoy this story is due to the lively dialogue, which was also funny at times. Just let me give an example:

“So you’re sayin’ if Valenti and I don’t act the part, we could be
in deep shit,” O’Brian said bluntly.
“That’s putting it mildly, sweetie,”
Twonnie said. “And from what Turk said, you’ve only got a week to practice your
act, so you better get to it.” He gestured at both of them.
“What, right
now?” Valenti asked, feeling slightly panicked.
“What do you want us to do,
kiss?” O’Brian asked, a lot more coolly than Valenti would have believed
possible. What had gotten into his partner lately? Valenti would have bet even
money that if someone had suggested that Sean O’Brian was willing to kiss
another man -- even his partner and best friend -- O’Brian would have punched
the chump in the mouth. But now here he was suggesting it himself.
looked amused. “No, honey,” he told O’Brian. “You’ll have to work up to that, I
think. But why don’t you take tall, dark, and beautiful here out for a spin on
the dance floor?”
“What, here?” Valenti asked, knowing that he
sounded like a broken record, but unable to help himself.
“Where else did
you have in mind, honey, Grand Central Station? Of course here. Don’t get
that panicked look on your face; I’m not asking you to throw your partner
facedown on the table and screw him. I just said dance.” Twonnie looked
disgusted with them. “If you can’t even dance with each other, then you might as
well forget it -- you may have to do a lot more than that to pass at the

• Sweet, giving characters
Both Nick and Sean are very easy to like. They are good friends, willing to push aside their own needs to put the other at ease. Their appeasing words about what’s happening between them are meant well, even if they turn out to cause a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. In their lovemaking they’re sweet and giving as well, which makes that these scenes are not only hot, but also sensitive and affectionate.

• Great sexual tension
Yep, there’s plenty of that! And how can that not be a good thing in an erotic romance, right? It’s excellently done and it makes this a fast paced, page turning story that I didn’t want to put down.

• Memorable hot scenes
The Assignment does have a couple of hot scenes I won’t forget easily. One of them is when Sean tells other guests at the resort a bogus first-time story. This backstory is close to their real relationship except for the sex, which they hadn’t had yet at that point. He tells the made-up story while sitting on Nick’s lap, who’s sporting a huge erection at the time. Sean’s saving their asses and is voicing Nick’s deepest fantasy at the same time.
The other one is memorable in a weird sense, because the setting is awkward. A very intimate and hot moment takes place between the two guys while they’re accidentally participating in a very publicly jerk off contest (how weird is that, huh?). Because of that odd and unlikely setting I also mention it as one of the Low Fives, but memorable it was! And well written as well.

Low 5

• Single Point of View
I started missing the POV of Sean. For the most part of the book it works great that only Nick’s POV is shown. It adds to the tension and it makes you feel his doubts and fears as if they were your own (so to speak). But at the moment that Nick’s fears let him behave in a way I didn’t agree with and when the lack of communication between the two guys starts to get annoying, I thought it was time for a POV switch. But that didn’t happen, grrrr…

• Early 1980s?
It’s beyond me why Ms. Anderson had to date her story ‘Early 1980s’. I wondered about that for a while and it only made me realize that the guys would’ve been pushing the age of 60 in the year 2009 /:o. Luckily after the first chapter I forgot about it. Why did the author not just leave it to the imagination? Maybe it had to explain the lack of mobile phones when the guys are separated at the end?

• First names, last names
It bugged me a bit that someone calls the one he loves by his last name. They switched between first and last names, but a definitive choice for the first name with the progress of their loving feelings would have been so much sweeter.

• Suspense?
Like I said in my intro the publisher labeled this novel as romantic suspense. I thought the suspense storyline was a bit farfetched. It offered a good alibi for all the love scenes and it caused the kickoff of their relation to begin with, so it served a good purpose. But it got snowed under and the events became sort of unlikely. The guys are after this big drug baron who’s the owner of a gay resort, so they go undercover at that resort. But they hardly do any investigating. And when they sort of do, their personal issues get in the way. Not very professional... Even so, they know to arouse the suspicion of the bad guy. De drug baron exposes them and puts them in a highly unlikely situation, for a villain. For the love storyline it’s an excellent dilemma that brings the lovers to another level. But the suspense storyline gets wrapped up too quickly and not in a very satisfying way. Luckily I could easily discard that and concentrate on the romance part, but if you picked up this book for the suspense, it would’ve been rather disappointing I imagine.

• The RamJack? Really?
The location of the gay resort, the RamJack, put the guys in some awkward situations. I can hardly believe that such a place could be for real. And some of the regular activities were downright weird, like the on stage jerk off and suck off contests. But even though the protags participated in one of them, which was in itself nonsensical, Ms Anderson turned it into a beautifully written love scene. By concentrating on the feelings and actions of the guys as if they were the only people in the room, she succeeded in helping me get over the awkward feeling I had about the surroundings. And the emotional scene afterwards was even better done.

So, these were my five highs and lows. I did like The Assignment quite a lot, because of the excellent writing, the great tension and the sweet, loveable characters. And although I had a few annoyances and questions, they didn't bother me enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story. It’s definitely a hot and erotic M/M romance!
I’ve finished both sequels I’ll Be Hot for Christmas and Fireworks as well, but maybe I’ll write about them another time. Both are short stories and a nice addition to the novel. But since it’s past midnight, I’ll be off to bed now!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today's Man Candy: Lion Tamer

I'm so thankful for having this sexy, brave, danger-loving and uberhot hunk over from Cecile's place today. Thank you for letting me sweet talking him to visit my place, Cecile!
I'm gonna try to put my thoughts on Evangeline Anderson's The Assignment on paper today. Although it's probably going to be difficult with the Lion Tamer around... We might want to do some playing... with his little whelp...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's touching my Soft Spot this week

The things I have a soft spot for are countless. There’s the contented purring of our 18-year old cat, my hubby’s sweet smile, chocolate (in all sorts and sizes), my hubby doing his sit-ups and pushups before bedtime in his boxer briefs *sigh*, the feeling of snowflakes on my skin, the playful twinkle in my hubby’s eyes, surprise parties, my hubby rubbing my feet… You see the theme here *grin*? I could go on and on, but before you start to dislike my hubby, I’ll cut it short.

From today I want to share what touched my book related soft spot on a weekly base with you. And my book related SS is most definitely touched by certain book covers, excerpts and to a lesser extent back blurbs.
While doing my browsing in the online bookstores and my blog-rounds this week a lot of irresistible and interesting books touched my SS one way or the other.
To keep track on those and to share them with you, here’re this week’s findings, that are all new to me authors and high on my wishlist now:

First of all there’s this hot cover of Magnus by Jambrea Jo Jones.
It shows a sexy alpha male and it turns out that the story is featuring one indeed. His name is Joe “Magnus” Rivers.

Blurb: Magnus is a marine Colonel and his job is his reason for being. Protecting the United States of America from all threats is his sole purpose in life. That life is turned upside down when a woman is assigned to his team of elite Marines and his attraction to her threatens his career.
NCIS Special Agent Emily Patterson’s orders: infiltrate Colonel
Rivers’ team and find the culprits behind a slate of kidnappings connected to a sex slave ring. Her mission parameters didn’t include an attraction for Colonel Rivers but nothing in Emily’s career could have prepared her for Magnus. Her job becomes more difficult as she gets to know the man behind the uniform and Emily
finds herself wanting to prove herself to him, potentially exposing her identity before she clears Mag.
Mag and Emily struggle against their growing feelings for one another, both knowing the consequences of giving in to lust. Mag is Emily’s team leader and fraternizing is against the rules. Emily is investigating Mag and his team; getting involved with him could ruin her investigation and her career.

There’s an excerpt on Liquid Silver Books. It’s rather long, so click here to read it.
And another one is this one from The BlackRaven’s Erotic Café, combined with an interview:

“All clear, Alpha.”
“Back to base, double-time.”
The soldiers made it to the camp without incident.
“Sir…sir!” Patterson called.
He stopped and she ran right into him
Ten feet and I could have been in my office. Goddamn it.
He didn’t turn around. “What seems to be the problem, Patterson?”
“I need to talk to you, sir.”
“Then talk.”
“Um…could we go into your office?”
He nodded, continued to his office and didn’t stop until he sat behind his desk and she stood at attention in front of it.
“At ease, Lieutenant. Talk.”
She stood at parade rest, but didn’t look relaxed.
“I thought we were on a real mission today, sir.”
“Are you questioning me, Lieutenant Patterson?”
“No, sir.”
“Let me ask you a question, princess.”
She started to say something, but he could tell she thought better of it when she pinched her lips together and stood straighter. He had to fight his grin.
“Why are you here? Why the Marines?”
“Permission to speak freely?”
He waved her on.
“Because Daddy said I couldn’t do it,” she said with malice in her voice. “I’m here to prove him and everyone else wrong. I can do this.”
“Daddy trying to make it easy for you? Paving the way to a combat troop?” he taunted, knowing full well she’d paid her dues.
“I did my time on Parris Island. I deserve to be here”
“I’ve been over your records, Patterson. The General showed them to me before he put you on my team. I know you’re a solid Marine, but you shouldn’t be here. My team is on the front line. You’re a distraction we don’t need.”
He looked to see if she would respond, but she said nothing.
Mag continued, “What happens when you miss the target and go down? My men would be worried about protecting you, not fighting the enemy. I can’t have that. Our lives depend on trusting each other in a fight. Just last month you shot Stewart in a mock exercise. Today your ass wiggled so far in the air I’m surprised the patrol didn’t spot it. You aren’t ready.”
Patterson stepped forward and put her hands on his desk, placing her face-to-face with him. He cocked a brow at her and wondered if she realized she’d broken protocol.
She leaned in and spoke in a low, soft voice. “I’m ready, Sir. Put me on the line. I’ll do my job.”
His body reacted in an unexpected way. His cock rose to attention.
Goddamn it! Down, boy, nothin' to see here.
Mag brought his face so close to hers they were almost nose-to-nose. He spoke just as softly. “You are not ready. You will never be ready. Go home now before you fucking kill someone or end up dead.”
He watched her shiver a little and his cock throbbed in answer. It took all his military control not to kiss her. When her tongue eased out of her mouth to lick her lips he thought he would lose his military bearing and he almost groaned, but caught himself.
No fucking way is this happening.
She never dropped her gaze and he respected her just a little more for that. Most men couldn’t hold his glare. She wasn’t afraid of him, he realized when she didn’t back down.
Well Fuck.
“What was that, sir?”
He must have spoken aloud. He needed to get her off kilter. Mag leaned in closer so their noses touched, his lips pressed almost on hers. Her breath mingled with his.
“Get the fuck out of my office. You’re dismissed. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go home.”
Then she did the unthinkable. Patterson’s tongue touched his mouth as she moistened her dry lips. He couldn’t help it. He tried, but before he could think, his tongue met hers for a brief second before they both pulled away. Patterson stood at attention, saluted him, spun around and raced out of his office as if the devil himself followed on her heels.
“Shit. Fuck. Goddamn it!” He slammed his hand on his desk. “No way is this happening. No fucking way!”

The second cover that got to my soft spot was that of If Looks Could Chill by Nina Bruhns. It's a suspense romance.

Blurb: A kick-ass Yankee cop and her special-ops Cajun guide search the Louisiana swamp for a deadly virus, but succumb to a fever of a very different sort. Mysterious deaths stalk the bayou. No-nonsense Louisiana State trooper Tara Reeves reluctantly enlists the aid of Marc Lafayette, a too-sexy-for-his-own-good Cajun heartbreaker, to guide her on her search for evidence so she can bring down those responsible. But the source of the deaths is more dangerous than Tara could ever imagine. A foreign
terrorist cell, plotting an attack on U.S. soil, is testing a deadly biological
weapon in the remote wilderness of the swamp.
But the terrorists aren’t the only ones with secrets…
What Tara doesn’t know is that her sexy guide is part of a covert special ops team sent to destroy the terrorist threat, and Marc is not happy about having to babysit a nosy cop—even one as temptingly beautiful as Tara. But as they search the Louisiana swamp for a deadly virus, they succumb to a fever of a very different sort. Both of them know that love and work don’t
mix, a harrowing showdown with the enemy will make their steamy passion boil over…and change their lives forever.

There’s an excerpt at the author’s site. This book will be released at December 1.

Turned out that this is the second book in a series. The first one is Shoot to Thrill, which doesn’t have a bad cover either. Read the excerpt here.

The third book that caught my eye this week is Men On Fire by Rachelle Chase, Jodi Lynn Copeland and Susan Lyons. Firemen always seem to touch my soft spot and I love them being the hero of my romances. This one looks really HOT, although I could have done without the chopped off head…

Blurb: Brave, bold, and dangerously sexy, firefighters are every woman's fantasy. Meet three hot heroes who take scorching desire to a whole new level...Executive Jade Rousseau needs to find a fake fiance to parade around her company's social events. When her friends bid on red-hot firefighter Quinn O'Malley at a benefit auction, Jade bids higher.
The man has to be hers - and she can't wait to feel the passion...When fashion designer Delta Ballantyne asks firefighter Evan Marshall to model her sexy line of men's underwear, she can't stop the sizzling fantasies running through her mind, beginning with sophisticated foreplay...and ending with the ultimate climax...Ever since Erica Donelson's ex-husband left her, his former best buddy, firefighter Lincoln Gabriel, has been there for her. But before long, their warm friendship heats up to a burning lust that won't be denied...

The first pages can be read at Amazon here.

The last soft spot cover I’m gonna share today is Gobsmacked by L.B. Gregg.
It’s the first story in the Men of Smithfield Series. I like reading M/M romances and this author has been recommended by one of the readers of my blog - thanks Patti!
This cover is sweet and I like the cold winter landscape combined with the hotness of two men kissing.

Blurb: No more Mr. Nice Guy. Mild mannered Mark Meehan’s good judgment flies out the window when he finds his lover banging another man. Things go from bad to worse as Mark’s crazy revenge scheme uncovers shocking secrets—sending him straight into the arms of hunky lawman and old friend, Tony Gervase, a man of limited patience and secrets of his own.

The following excerpt is from the author’s website:

"I snagged two beers and slammed the fridge door. Whirling around, I crashed into Tony’s chest. “Get out of the way, T.”
His big hands came up and he gripped my shoulders; his face honest in its intensity. “That guy’s bad news, Mark. You were an idiot to get involved with him in the first place.”
I shoved him, knocking his hands from my shoulders, his touch felt almost patronizing. “I heard you the first time. I more than know that now. He drained my bank accounts. Took everything.” More horrified by the loss of my money than the loss of my lover, my gut rolled. It was the beer on an empty stomach.
“What? How?”
“I found out when I stopped by the bank. I have nothing. It’s all gone. So, yes, he’s got no self control and he’s a thief and I can’t for the life of me figure out why he thought I wouldn’t notice. He’s crazy. I mean how fucking stupid and needy does he think I am? Don’t answer that.”
“You need to report this, Mark.” He was firm. “Obviously you were needy for something. Maybe you were blinded by his cock. It’s been known to happen.”
I blinked at him. “Fuck. You.”
Tony leapt, slamming me into the refrigerator; his chest flattened into mine, his hand grabbed my chin, forcing it up. I froze, shocked. “Don’t tempt me.” He drilled me with a vicious look, and then his eyes shifted down to my mouth. I knew that look. I went from shocked to breathless while my tongue, that teasing bastard, slid out to dampen my dry lips. All the thoughts I’d ever had of Tony’s mouth on mine, however suppressed or unrequited, came charging forward in that split second and I almost leaned into him. Almost. It was the booze. It had to be.
His heart pounded into mine, our chests rising and falling together as our breathing sped up. His hand was just short of painful, biting into my jaw, holding me firm. Oh Christ, here was an unexpected development and I wanted it. Tony was punishing me and, irrational as ever, I was desperate for him to put his mouth on me."

So far, my soft spots. Hope you enjoyed some of them too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday's Hot Couple and Upcoming Reviews

Looking forward to this week. I just started reading Evangeline Andersons short story I'll Be Hot for Christmas, which is a sequel to her novel The Assignment, a M/M romance. I liked The Assignment and I'll be posting a review of that very soon. Other upcoming reviews are of Maya Banks' Songbird and Jill Shalvis' Double Play. I'm faster at reading than at writing I'm afraid. But I'm definitely going to make time for the reviews this week :)
Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today's Man Candy

The weekend is coming to an end here in our little country and to conclude the week I'm gonna post a delicious looking jock for eye candy purposes only. It's related to the novel I'm reading at the moment: Double Play by Jill Shalvis.
The hero is a hunky baseball player called Pace. He's got an injured shoulder and is reluctantly falling for this nosy reporter, Holly. I'm about halfway the story and so far not much has happened in the lovemaking department, just a few kisses are exchanged. But I think they are about to fall in bed with each other any moment now (...please let it be...)! Despite the postponed sex ;), I'm enjoying Double Play. A nice cast of characters has been introduced and slowly we're given more insight in the H/H behaviors.
I'm going to crawl into bed now - with Pace & Holly's love story to keep me awake for a few more hours, I hope.

Review of Heat of Passion by Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy
Heat of Passion (Out of Uniform, #2)
Samhain Publishing, March 2009

Genre & Keywords
: Contemporary, Uniformly Hot: Navy SEAL

Rating: êêêê
Heat level:

The Back Blurb:
Carson Scott is the king of one-night stands, so a naughty encounter with a sexy brunette in a nightclub supply closet is right up his alley. When his mysterious seductress disappears, he’s blindsided by an unfamiliar emotion—disappointment. One thing’s for sure...if he ever encounters his lady of the evening again, he won’t let her slip away so easily.

Between her catering business, family issues, and her broken heart, Holly Lawson has too much on her plate to think about committing to a serious relationship. Hot, sweaty, anonymous sex with a Navy that sounds like the perfect appetizer to take the edge off. With no plans to ever see him again, she indulges in a fling. Only to come face to face with him weeks later while working a wedding.

Worse, Carson is hell-bent on the one thing she doesn’t want. The R word. She has no intention of falling for him, but in the face of his seductive, mind-changing methods, her resistance is crumbling...

I love hotties in uniform and Elle Kennedy’s heroes from her Out of Uniform series are very sexy navy SEALs who live up to my expectations. Earlier I’ve read the first story in this series, Heat of the Moment, and liked it a lot. Carson made his entrance while enjoying a threesome with his best friend and fellow SEAL John and his lover Shelby. In Heat of Passion John and Shelby are getting married and Carson has a hot encounter with a mystery woman at their bachelor/bachelorette party, in a supply closet! She rocks his world but she immediately disappears after the best sex of his life. Carson realizes that he’s done with the one-night stands and the threesomes of his past. Envying John and Shelby’s love, he wants his own special woman.

One month passes by before he bumps into the mystery woman again. She’s catering at his friends’ wedding. Holly gets the shock of her life when she spots the hot SEAL in his white dress uniform at the wedding she’s working, with whom she had anonymous hot sex a short while ago. It was meant to stay anonymous and now he’s asking her out on a date. No way, she can handle more than a fling. But Carson is persistent – he wants a relationship with her. They settle on great, steamy sex. And steamy it is!

Carson is ridiculously sweet and totally falling for Holly. She still thinks she doesn’t have time for a more serious relationship, with her demanding family and her study consuming all of her time. But Carson helps her realize that her family is depending on her too much, only she doesn’t want to admit it and she kicks him out. When she finally can and wants to make up with him, Carson’s been sent off on one of his secret military missions for god knows how long. It makes her reconsider her feelings for him.

Carson and Holly are a lovely couple. They complete each other, a former bad boy and the good girl. Their chemistry is great and the love scenes are explosive and well described. Although Heat of Passion is just a short story (about 70 pages in my ebook version), the characters are vividly and well developed and very, very likeable. Especially Carson is a considerate, attractive, loving and sweet hottie who’s easy to love.

If you’re looking for a fast, cute and steamy story about a sexy as sin navy SEAL and his sweet, sassy girl, I can recommend this one. And it seems as if there’re gonna be a lot more installments in this series, considering the number of hot SEAL buddies of Carson and John that were introduced in this story. A third book has already been published: Heat of the Storm, starring their buddy Will. Yep, gonna want to read that one as well!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review of Some Kind of Hero by Michelle Cary

Michelle Cary
Some Kind of Hero
Samhain Publishing, April 2008

Genre & Keywords
: Contemporary, Wounded Soldier, Ménage a trois (M/F/M), Abuse, Violence

Rating: êêêê
Heat level:

The Back Blurb:
After serving his tour of duty in Iraq, Sergeant Derek Rison returns home to find his apartment—and his life—in ruins. Sitting in the back booth of a local diner, contemplating his options, Derek meets waitress Jordan Minx, a petite brunette with a sad smile and a big heart.
Well-intentioned Jordan offers him a place to sleep, but an accidental encounter in the bathroom lands them both in her bed. Derek discovers a woman with an insatiable appetite for sex and a secret to hide—her “boyfriend” blackmails her to be a toy for his group of kinky friends.
Bolstered by Derek’s love, Jordan finds the courage to do the right thing. But the cost of freedom could be her life.

Warning, this title contains the following: Explicit sex, spankings, ménage a trois, violence.

This story is very fast paced and packed with lots and lots of action. I think maybe it was a bit too much and too fast in the short span of time of the storyline. But if you like to be gripped by action and hot sex scenes, this might be just the book for you. From the very first page the hero and heroine are figuratively getting on a train together, to not jump off again, because it keeps riding and riding, even while it takes some quite impossible curves.

Ex-soldier Derek meets waitress Jordan when he returns wounded from Iraq and finds his apartment burned down. She offers him her couch for the night and one thing leads to another. Within a couple of days they have hot sex (with some out-of-the-blue-but-one-time-only spanking), share their secrets and fall in love. But Jordan can’t commit to a relationship with Derek because she has a boyfriend. And she happens to be financially dependent on that guy. I found this in itself a bit incredible but even more so when it turned out that she let him abuse her sexually. She’s a sweet woman but she annoyed me as well because of this impassiveness and dependency.

The relationship between Jordan and Derek felt genuine though. He’s not only hot as sin but also very easy to like and his feelings for her are heartwarming. His character was less well developed as the heroine’s though. The story is written mostly from her point of view. He’s really good for her, especially after what she’s been through. And he knows how to encourage her without pushing her into something she doesn’t want to do. The perfect man, right? Jordan does realize her luck and she dares to believe in a happy future for herself again. But their happily ever after is postponed shortly by some unexpected events. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this turn of the story, which involved a matter of life and death (I’m trying not to reveal too much…). It was unexpected but very plausible and it added some good emotional tension.

There’s just one thing in the storyline I’m not too thrilled about: the ménage scene between Jordan, Derek and Derek’s business partner (who was gay but unexpectedly turned bi). It’s not the scene in itself that bothered me, because that was kinda hot. But it was too farfetched with these three characters: Derek didn’t seem to be the kind of guy that likes threesomes, and Jordan had a nasty history with ménages instigated by her abusive boyfriend. Although she engaged willingly in the threesome it didn’t seem to fit at all.

But overall, I liked this book, because the storyline was interesting and the writing was good. The characters were well developed and there was plenty of action and emotional tension which elevated the suspense.
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